Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 136a, 1898

White, J. E.


August 14, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in 2SM 14-15; 6BC 1064-1065; 4MR 267; 5MR 354-355; 12MR 206.

Dear Son, Edson:

I have been conversing with W. C. White and have given him my ideas. I hope he will answer your questions satisfactorily as he has read your letter carefully. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 1

I am desirous to present matters before you just as they are. You specify the things that Brother Sutherland has presented to be used in school. There must be books of some order in the school, and why have not our own people taken the word of the Lord and made appropriate selections from the Scriptures for reading and spelling books? Until they do this, it is not best to take all books from the students except the Bible. The light that I have is that we must move cautiously and solidly. Brother Sutherland is going to extremes. Where has he received his lessons? Many things are presented to me that alarm me. The sentiments presented in relation to books are to be carefully considered. Are the people in America prepared for the movements that Brother Sutherland is making? I say, They are not. A few might engage in this work and manage it well, because they have tact and understanding. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 2

In the church schools to be established, I cannot recommend [the program of] no text books whatever, [or to] set inexperienced teachers to be managers. The lessons given in these schools will be of a wrong order, and soon it will be evident that the school is disappointing the people. Something is wrong. The teachers themselves do not have an understanding of the Bible lessons to be given. They need that one shall teach them. We must move intelligently. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 3

Books can be prepared for children that will not contain a thread of infidelity, but these books must be simplified to meet the understanding of the small children. A teacher of little experience who attempts to teach all the lessons from the Bible alone will not understand half the time what are the real points of the lesson. There should be a close and thorough examination into this matter of books. Much thought and no hasty work must be given to it by those teachers who have learned their lessons from the Sacred Word. Having learned obedience, they will sympathize with the children. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 4

If the teachers have learned their lessons of Jesus Christ, and have learned for the purpose of bringing those lessons most fully into their own life, they can teach successfully. Those who are daily learners from the Great Teacher will have a most precious treasure house from which to draw things new and old. They do not see their heavenly Father except with the eye of faith, but they have learned of Jesus and can read His love in the most trying dispensations. They do not judge their Creator by fables, but by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. They are partakers of the divine nature. They are not like the heath in the desert that knoweth not when good cometh. They can trust Him who withheld not His only begotten Son, but who gave Him for us and with Him will give us all things that are for our spiritual and eternal good. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 5

The Lord will not disappoint our expectations. He may lead us in paths of joyfulness or in paths of bereavement or sorrow, but it is His own way. We want to follow not our way but the way where God shall lead us. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 6

These church schools are a very serious matter. Young persons without a deep experimental evidence that the truth has begun its sanctifying influence upon their hearts, will make a failure in attempting to teach in any church school. None of us are to choose the easiest place and seek to understand that which pleases us of the Word of God, obeying some things which harmonize with our own works, and having or making excuses why we do not believe every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God. As teachers, especially of the children and the youth, we must first be learners in the way of obedience, not choosing truths that suit our notions and rejecting others, which because they call for self-denial and cross-bearing cut across inclination. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 7

True faith asks of the Lord, “What wilt thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6] and when the way is marked out by the Master whose we are by creation and redemption, it is prepared to do the will of our Owner, at whatever hardship or sacrifice. We must in faith ask the Lord to point out our path of duty, and then promptly follow, whatever may be the consequence. The present and eternal good of the youth whom we have under our charge must often bring us upon our knees, seeking for counsel of Him who is too wise to err, and too good to leave us helpless in our own wisdom. Study the simplicity of the Scriptures so that you will not fail to make the word understood, by giving line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 8

These church schools to be established do not mean state schools, but church schools. But few students will attend in some of these schools, and in such places a room hired at little expense might be fitted up by ingenious minds and hands to be made attractive and convenient for this work. In other places a vestry to the meetinghouse might be used. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 9

But the most important consideration is to get a proper teacher, one who understands how to manage in a Christlike spirit. It is a very nice work to deal with human minds, and young ladies who are not qualified to engage in this work would not benefit the students. Young, inexperienced girls are not the ones to manage in our church schools. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 10

Every man and woman should know that when they accept of Jesus Christ as their Saviour, they have a mighty conflict before them. A sleepless adversary is seeking to destroy their influence, and there must be a constant looking unto Jesus. Satan would be as fully pleased to have teachers in our schools going to extremes in practice as to keep them from advancing in knowledge and holiness. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 11

Books should be prepared as soon as possible to lead minds to a study of the Bible. Every teacher should learn what real progress comprehends, else the enemy will get the advantage and send them off the track. It is best to wait and hold a position until the educator shall know that he is moving in the Lord’s lines. He is not to confuse the minds and send them in a wrong direction, by weaving in notions and idle tales. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 12

There is much to be learned in regard to early piety in youth. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” [1 John 5:4.] That faith must not be led to embrace superstitions, fictitious sentiments. Leave out the ideas that you may receive and give the children and youth the same kind of instruction which Christ gave—faith in the plain, simple, “Thus saith the Lord.” Thou shalt do, and thou shalt not do is the decided and plain character of God’s lesson. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 13

The world has become the seat of sin, and a mass of pollution. The position of all believers is to be, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean, and I (your Owner) will receive you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] The conquering work is done through faith. No little matters are to divert the mind. We must have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 14

Those who are indeed true and faithful, God-fearing teachers will earnestly practice every principle they seek to imprint upon the minds of the children; not following inclination to do the very things they instruct them not to do. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 15

Of Noah it is said that by his consistent course of action in all things he showed his faith by his works and thus condemned the world. This he did as a consistent believer in the message of warnings which he was giving to the world. Had Noah not preached, and worked in harmony with his message, he would not have been justified by his works. The Lord requires every soul to live every lesson he teaches. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 16

There is now a work to be done intelligently and in the fear of God. Bible instruction is to be made forcible by the holy life of the teacher. Every teacher should live the Word of God. Every preacher should practice that which he enjoins upon others, else his lifework is a failure. God calls for sincerity. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 17

Every phase of fanaticism and erroneous theories, claiming to be the truth, will be brought in among the remnant people of God. These will fill minds with erroneous sentiments which have no part in the truth for this time. Any man who supposes that in the strength of his own devised resolutions, in his intellectual might united with science or supposed knowledge, he can start a work which will conquer the world, will find himself lying amid the ruins of his own speculations, and will plainly understand why he is there. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 18

All who go into the battlefield with the Lord’s army will find that the whole armor of God must be put on. The shield of faith will be their defense to bring them through the battles more than conquerors. Nothing can avail but the orders given us by our Captain, the Lord of hosts. Vast armies furnished with every other facility to fight would avail nothing in this last great conflict. Without faith, even an angel host could not help. Faith, living faith, exercised in the power of God must be our defense. Faith alone can make us invincible and enabled to stand in the evil day, steadfast, immovable, holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. It is not the faith in our faith that places us as overcomers, but the power imparted us to exercise faith in God. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 19

Obedience to the whole will of God places us by faith under the protection of Jehovah. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. There must be an entire surrender of the whole will to God, saying, O Lord, I am thine; I am not my own. I am bought with a price. All our possessions, though they be as dear to us as was Isaac to the heart of Abraham, are to be laid upon the altar. This may test that man sorely, but there must be no Isaacs too precious to sacrifice for God. We would not hear the words, “Ye are of your father, the Devil.” [John 8:44.] No; we want to hear the voice of sweetest music saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” [Matthew 25:34.] 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 20

From the light given me of the Lord, men will arise speaking perverse things. Yea, already they have been working and speaking things which God has never revealed, bringing sacred truth upon a level with common things. Issues have been and will continue to be made of men’s conceited fallacies, not of truth. The devisings of men’s minds will invent tests that are no tests at all, that when the true test shall be made prominent, it shall be considered on a par with the man-made tests that have been of no value. We may expect that everything will be brought in and mingled with sound doctrine, but by clear, spiritual discernment, by the heavenly anointing, we must distinguish the sacred from the common which is being brought in to confuse faith and sound judgment and demerit the great, grand, testing truth for this time. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 21

Many, not discerning these erroneous moves, will catch at ideas that are spurious and find defeat the outcome. The right of peace and rest and security is found after a growth in grace. I would say to Brother Sutherland, Make haste slowly, my brother. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 22

Never, never was there a time when the truth suffered more from being misrepresented, belittled, demerited through the perverse disputings of men than in these last days. Men have brought themselves in with their heterogeneous mass of heresies which they represent as oracles for the people. The people are charmed with some strange, new thing, and are not wise in experience to discern the character of ideas that men may frame up as something. But to call it something of great consequence and tie it to the oracles of God does not make it truth. O, how this rebukes the low standard of piety in the churches. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 23

Men who want to present something original will conjure up things new and strange, and without consideration will step forward on these unstable theories that have been woven together as a precious theory, and present it as a life and death question. Many of these erroneous ideas will be accounted as essential from the lips of men who are not sanctified or purified, and who do not understand what is truth. Self! self! self! exalted unto eternal ruin. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 24

The Lord says to all these foolish messengers whom He has not commissioned, “Ye have sold yourselves for a thing of naught.” [Isaiah 52:3.] Yes, this is a cheap way to sell the soul. There is no end to the foolish bargains that will be thus made. We have the truth, the solid truth in the Word of God, and all these speculations and theories would better be strangled in the cradle, rather than nourished and brought to prominence. We are to hear the voice of God from His revealed Word, the sure word of prophecy. Those who will magnify themselves and seek to do some wonderful thing would better come to a sound mind. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 25

Our Master has sent us to sow His field with wheat, pure wheat and not with the mingled seed of wheat and tares. When the sower shall conjure up a mass of ideas which are mere suppositions and pass them along as food for the people, to all whose appetite has not been perverted, it will taste strongly of the dish. Those who are not gathering from the Word truth, golden threads of truth to weave into the web to compose the fabric would better stop where they are; for even now if they see their follies and repent of their sin of giving to the people that which is not truth but the vagaries of their own brain, if they are grieved over their sin of teaching things which God has not committed to them to teach, God will forgive them. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 26

But can these men change their tares into wheat by their tears and repentance for believing and advocating spurious things as truth? Yet, although God may pardon their sins, when the harvest is gathered and the chaff is found in the wheat, what will the sowers of these productions realize? Souls have never had the light and experience they might have had. They went on sowing their seeds of chaff in the place of giving pure wheat. Let all take heed how they hear and how they receive fallacious theories in the place of truth, pure, sanctifying truth. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 27

Brother Sutherland needs to move cautiously indeed. The way Miss Ellis came here and went to work feeling fully competent to instruct from the Bible as the only book to be used, confused but did not enlighten. She stated the great work she had done in America in establishing church schools in a large number of places where she had been appointed. That young lady has everything to learn. She has not the truth unmixed with chaff, and the Lord would have every messenger hear the sacred, solemn message for this time, without one strange plant of men’s theories. Chaff is not truth. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 28

God has given time and talents that must be sacredly charged with His Holy Spirit. No ability belongs to the human agency to dispose of as he pleases. God will have an investigation of every gift lent, to see if it has been cultured and improved to meet His design in sanctification of the truth. All our property is to be held as a sacred charge from God, and is not to be used to please and honor and glorify, ourselves. All is to be regarded as a consecrated trust to be improved by use and returned to the Giver, sacred, holy, enlarged by use in doing good to God’s heritage. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 29

Edson, your method of instructing from pictures for the Southern school is an excellent idea. These pictures can be got up as cheaply as possible. You might talk till you were weary to get ideas into the heads of the colored children, but give them a similitude, an object, and the lesson becomes stamped upon the mind never to be forgotten. This is why the Gospel Primer has been and will continue to be effective. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 30

You ask in reference to appealing to the people for means to help the section in which you have been laboring. The light given me is that your labors have been accepted and that God is not pleased that you have had so little encouragement. Your work has been accomplishing great good. It has been carried forward in the same way your father and your mother have tried to work, marked with earnestness and with the feeling, “I will not fail nor be discouraged.” [See Isaiah 42:4.] When the appeal was made for the very place, where you were doing to the utmost of your ability, who has given the victory? It has been the Lord blessing His own faithful, few laborers. If more would wrestle as you have done, the Lord would be pleased with the efforts to accomplish something in His cause. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 31

If there is no money in the treasury to support men in the field, then let those who have been receiving large wages be convicted that it is time to deny themselves, take up the cross, and follow Jesus. Let them go to work in the name of God for less wages. This will have to be done and the effect will be to restore the influence which has been lost, and bring the churches back from their backslidden condition. Men in responsible positions, worked by the Holy Spirit, will not grasp the largest wages because they can do this. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 32

You speak of Brother Smouse’s labors. Brother Smouse is engaged in a good work, and the Lord will freely give to all who will receive to impart. I thank the Lord for this work. It is a good thing if he can in any way set in operation any kind of business to help the Southern Field, for it bears so manifestly the marks of neglect. I believe the Lord has put it into his heart to do this work. Your father would have instituted ways and means to have helped the work in a field for which any one had the burden and was doing so much as you are doing in the Southern field. But let me tell you, there are warm hearts that beat in sympathy with the work in this field. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 33

The Lord would have been pleased to have given you encouragement through men who ought to have understood your needs. But different methods have been invented to block the way and discourage the workers in that field. This is not God’s way. When means which are raised in answer to appeals made in behalf of the Southern field are otherwise appropriated and not sent to that field, the Lord will send means through other sources. Praise His name! Whenever other efforts to raise means fail, it is your privilege to make an interest wherever you can. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 34

The Lord’s vineyard demands men and means, and when you have built up an interest with little help and sympathy, pass not over to the General Conference the buildings erected, but make them secure in some way without doing this that they may fulfill the very object for which they have been brought into existence. Brother Shireman wrote me in regard to a work he had been doing and wanted my advice. He had accomplished the work on his own responsibility, I think, and the Conference wanted the deed of the building. It was not theirs at all, and they had no right to it. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 35

In every place where there is any evidence that God is working to advance His own work and His own glory, let men be careful not to repress and discourage; for this is Satan’s way of working. There are plenty in the enemy’s ranks that will do this kind of work. Let God’s people stand shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, voice with voice heard in words of encouragement and faith. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 36

Satan’s position toward the work to be accomplished in enlightening the world is to burden, depress, and block the way, and shall brethren engage with him in his work, to depress and discourage those who give evidence that God is using them? If this is done, it is advancing the work of Satan. We must fight the powers of invisible foes, and the warfare is a keen and relentless antagonism. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 37

Then let all be united in the work to be done for this time. The help of every one is needed on the right side, under the Captain of our salvation. Fight we must. We must either be overcomers or be overcome. Who does not understand the situation? There can be no peace with conformity to the opposite party. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 38

There must be no more opposing work done among our people. We are to press together and “seal the law among my disciples.” [Isaiah 8:16.] How is this to be done? By closing up the divided ranks and standing a united company with our faces to the foe. The second and third chapters of Revelation present our position as it should be. It is now time that we worked intelligently as one mind and one heart and united meet the foe. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 39

I have seen that deep and seductive efforts will be made to draw men and women away from the true issues. In this work the Lord demands a different showing under the one great Head. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 40

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me.” [John 17:15-23.] 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 41

This prayer of Christ is to be our prayer. It is a special prayer presenting most wonderful possibilities of the unity that God requires shall exist among believers. This unity is the evidence we are to give to the world of the divinity of Christ, and of the reality of the religion of Christ in His disciples. 13LtMs, Lt 136a, 1898, par. 42